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Poster: dead-head_Monte Date: Jun 2, 2012 11:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: should Romney court Deadheads like Obama did?

It's all about big media, big money, and special interest politics these days. We, the public, own the electromagnetic spectrum that exists in Nature. Yet we give out Broadcast licenses for free to television and radio stations. Those stations, in turn, use their spectrum to get enormous amounts of money from special interests and from members of Congress. They do this in order to sell ads back to us to influence us. So we lose it in both ways.

Broadcasters have become huge corporate profit machines who make billions of dollars every election season. So not only are they raking it in, they're also creating a toxic environment for civic discourse. It used to be that the news programs that aired, believe it or not, had news on them. They had investigative stories.

But then somewhere in the 1980s, when their 60 Minutes news magazine started making a profit, CBS put the news division inside the entertainment division. And then everyone followed suit. So ever since then, news has been a branch of entertainment and, infotainment, at best.

The other day, the president of CBS, Les Moonves, was reported by "Bloomberg" to have said "Super PACs may be bad for America, but they're … good for CBS." I mean, there it is. CBS chief Leslie Moonves received $69.9 million in compensation in 2011, $57.7 million in 2010, and $43.2 million in 2009.

But there was a time in which the press, the print press, news on television and radio were speaking truth to power, people paid attention, and it made a difference. I don't think the Watergate trials would have happened, the Senate hearings, had there not been the kind of commitment from the news to cover the news.

People don't hear about important issues anymore. They hear these negative charges, which only turn them off more. The more negative stuff you hear, the less interested you are in going out to vote. And so they're being turned off and the stations are raking it in. The people in Washington, DC and the big banks are the ones who get to keep their hands on the levers of power.

So one of the big reasons that things are at the pass they are is that America's founders never could have anticipated that a small group of people, a financial enterprise and the technology could create this environment. Facts, truth, accountability, and stuff like that just aren't entertaining. So because news is not entertaining, because the stations think news ratings are poisonous, they don't cover the news. No one saw this coming. America's founders never imagined the digital information age and its corporate takeover.

Broadcasters don't cover politics and government in the sense of issues. They're happy occasionally to cover horse race and scandal and personality and crime and that aspect of politics. Each year it gets more depressing and it's hard to believe. A 14-year study of the Los Angeles media market looked at every station airing news and every news broadcast they aired round the clock, everything involving locals, from city to county. If you ask, "How much in a typical half hour news was about transportation, education, law enforcement, ordinances, or tax policy, for example?" The answer is, in a half hour newscast, 22 seconds is about serious issues. In fact, there are three minutes about crime, and two and a half minutes about the ugliest dog contest, and two minutes about entertainment. There's plenty of room for stuff that the stations believe will keep people from changing the dial.

These Broadcast stations are earning hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars from the ads that they are being paid to run. And not even risking running a minute of news, which might actually check on the accuracy of an ad. Truth watches, they're almost invisible now. There are consultants who go all around the country and they tell the general managers and the news directors, "It is only at your peril that you cover serious news."

The political square is now a commercial enterprise, owned and operated for the benefit of the brand, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Comcast, and all of those. The News has become irrelevant. How did this happen? How did we sell what belonged to everyone?

We did it by believing that what we have now is the way things have always been, and this is what it should be. The notion that what goes on is actually made by people, changes through time, and represents the deployment of political power — that notion has gone away. Today, Americans think, "it's always been this way." People are watching fake-news programs on CNN (owned by Time Warner), MSNBC (owned by Comcast and General Electric), and Fox (owned by Rupert Murdoch). Americans think this is how it works. Americans no longer have a sense of history. Many Americans today have no idea where stuff comes from, and no idea how stuff works.

This is amnesia which has been deliberately cultivated by journalism, and by the Entertainment Corporations in this country. It helps prevent people from saying, "Wait a minute, that's the wrong path to be on."

In other words, WE'RE SCREWED!

This post was modified by dead-head_Monte on 2012-06-02 18:13:12